QEP Field Services Will Pay $4 Million and Install Pollution Controls After Violating Clean Air Act
QEP Services, a Colorado-based natural gas services company, has reached an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Justice to resolve Clean Air Act violations at five natural gas compressor stations on the Uinitah and Ouray reservations in Northeastern Utah.
Under the proposed settlement, QEPFS -- a wholly owned subsidiary of QEP Resources --- will pay a $3.65 million in civil penalties and $350,000 into a Clean Air Trust Fund.
QEPFS will also reduce its emissions by removing certain equipment, installing additional pollution controls and replacing the natural gas powered instrument control systems with compressed air control systems.
“Natural gas extraction projects help to fuel our economy, but also need to follow the nation’s laws,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s settlement will bring cleaner air to the members of the Northern Ute Tribe by ensuring natural gas compressor stations are operated in compliance with the law and by creating a trust to fund environmental projects on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation.”
“This settlement will result in cleaner air for residents living on the Uintah and Ouray reservation and allow the responsible development of energy resources in accordance with the Clean Air Act,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. “It also will establish the Tribal Clean Air Trust Fund to fund environmental projects for the benefit of tribal members.”
QEPFS’s compressor stations remove water and compress natural gas for transportation through gas pipelines. They are sources of air pollution, emitting hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which can increase the risk of asthma attacks and are significant contributors to the formation of ozone. The actions required in the settlement will eliminate approximately 210 tons of NOx, 219 tons of carbon monoxide, 17 tons of HAPs and more than 166 tons of VOCs per year. It will also conserve 3.5 million cubic feet of gas each year, which could heat approximately 50 U.S. households. The reduction in methane emissions (a greenhouse gas that is a component of natural gas) is equivalent to planting more than 300 acres of trees.